There are several factors to consider before buying 3D printers for gear manufacturing. You can use different filament materials to make gears, and not all 3D printers can work with high-performance materials. So the first thing to consider is the printer’s ability to print different materials.
For this purpose, the best filament materials are:
The first three options are much more expensive, harder to print, and less common, but their outstanding mechanical properties make them ideal materials for gears. Printing them needs high-temperature nozzles, a heating chamber, an advanced heated bed, and a precise cooling process.
You can check the article about the best filaments for gears to learn more about suitable materials and their properties.
Overall, the below factors should be considered when choosing a suitable printer for gears:
- Filaments they can use.
- Accuracy and overall printing quality
- The enclosure (simple box around the printer’s build volume) is an excellent option to eliminate print warpage (although not essential for printing gears). You can even make one with a carton and tape.
We start from advanced 3D printers and then introduce common and easy to use ones to help you find the best 3D printer satisfying your needs.
1. 3DGence Industry F340
3DGence F340 is an industrial 3D printer that can use a wide range of high-performance engineering-grade filament materials. The maximum nozzle temperature of 500o C and the bed temperature of 160o C make this machine one of the best choices to print high quality and durable gears out of PEEK, PEI, etc.
The machine’s maximum build volume of 260×300×340 mm is the only limit for creating big gears. However, this build volume is relatively large compared to other brands. You can see the actual shape and appearance of it in this video or check its price here.
2. Intamsys Funmat Pro 410 HT
Funmat Pro 410 HT is a professional 3D printer from the Chinese 3D printer manufacturer Intamsys.
The printer offers a massive build volume of 305×305×406mm; it can print almost every gear type as big as 300mm in diameter.
The maximum temperatures of nozzle and bed for this one are 500o C and 160o C. So is a perfect device for manufacturing gears with high-performance materials.
Other features of Funmat Pro 610 HT, like automatic bed leveling sensor, dual nozzles, and filament monitoring, make it more user friendly and easier to use for beginners. You can find a useful review for Funmat 410 in the video below, or check its price here.
3. Apium P220
Apium P220 is an industrial 3D printer for high component quality in high-performance filaments. This printer offers a fully crystallized part and perfect surface quality using the Apium Adaptive Heating System feature. This way, energy is introduced in the uppermost layers, which helps with tolerance and surface quality.
You can see more technical features of Apium P200 in the below table or check its price here.
|Max. Nozzle Temperature||540o C|
|Max. bed temperature||160o C|
|Layer Thickness||0.05 – 0.6mm|
|Adaptive Heating||180o C|
From here on, the printers are desktop 3D printers. They can’t print PEEK, But they are considerably cheaper.
4. Markforged Mark Two
Markforged Mark Two is a popular 3D printer capable of manufacturing composite filaments by reinforcing fiberglass and other components. This unique feature earned it a lot of positive reviews from its customers. With this feature, a ‘strength to weight’ ratio similar to metals can easily be achieved.
This printer is somewhat expensive, its price starting from 13000 dollars. However, its value to price ratio is among the best.
Markforged has perfect precision and build-quality, suitable for complex geometries like gear teeth.
The Markforged company also offers Markforged Eiger software, it is user-friendly software with the benefit of cloud-based technology, and it has been successful at impressing users. Eiger also helps users find the best orientation for the continuous fibers.
Mark Two has a build volume of 320×132×154mm, and uses Nylon, ABS, reinforced Nylon, etc.
You can learn more about this unique 3D printer in this video or check its price here.
5. Ultimaker S5
If you want to achieve excellent print quality and big build volume of industrial printers with a desktop machine, then Ultimaker S5 is here for you. While the printer is not as expensive as the industrial ones, it’s been manufactured to print complex designs with tight tolerances.
It can be used at home or on your office desk without time-consuming installation processes, and yet, it has a large build size of 330×240×300mm despite its fitting dimensions.
Ultimaker S5 can print with carbon fiber and high-strength glass filaments with the maximum nozzle temperature of 280°C and a heated bed temperature of 140°C. However, you can’t print PEEK and high-performance materials with it.
The printer has an intuitive touch screen interface and ports to connect it to your PC or phone. Ultimaker also suggests using Cura, an open-source slicer software that is used for many other printers.
You can explore Ultimaker S5 features in the below video and check its price here.
6. LulzBot TAZ 6
Taz 6 is an affordable 3D printer for both hobbyists and professionals. It can achieve perfect results using several features like All-metal v2 hot end, automatic bed leveling, heated PEI print, and much more.
A build volume of 280×280×250mm, a minimum layer thickness of 0.05mm, and the ability to print various filaments like Nylon, ABS, PLA, and PETG are some of its many features, ensuring that it makes it to the top in the price range of 2000-3000 dollars.
Even though it can print high-quality pieces in a variety of filament materials, the process of installing the machine and assembling its parts can be overwhelming for beginners. However, setup and assembly are a one-time job, and more experienced users can do it in less than half an hour.
The video below gets into more details about TAZ 6 3D printer, and you can check its price here.
7. Pulse XE
The Pulse XE is a well-tuned 3D printer designed to print exotic filaments like NylonX from MatterHackers and other high-temperature filaments suitable for tough manufacturing parts.
The durability of NylonX, coupled with precise printing of Pulse XE with its optimized setting, is a perfect combination for high-quality printing. You can check the price of Pulse XE here.
The reality is that printing gears for big power transmission units or high torques is often more expensive than using old manufacturing methods. So, using a mid-range 3D printer like Pulse XE for light works like printing small gears and industrial machines to print metal gears seems like the right decision.
8. Prusa i3 MK3S
Prusa i3 MK3S is a reliable, well-produced printer that can print Nylon and other common materials. It’s also one of the most popular 3D printers in the world.
With a large community of fans and technical support, this machine is an ideal 3D printer for beginners and first-time users, with the ideal price of around 1000 dollars.